For individuals living in the temperate regions of the world, winter brings with it unique challenges. One of these is finding a way to defrost windows quickly and efficiently. A joint research team with members from Japan’s Kyushu University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have come up with a groundbreaking new technology that can defrost frozen windows in a matter of seconds. Not only is the time for defrosting minimal, but the technology also uses less than 1% of the energy requirements of current defrosting methods. The team also noted that the technology could be useful for defrosting other surfaces, such as those of airplanes, possibly allowing for flight in icy weather.
The research was initiated as a means of dealing with the enormous energy requirements for defrosting methods currently in use. However, the impulse for the study was to deal with the massive energy budgets that buildings go through to keep their premises and system defrosted. The fluid used for defrosting would need to be warmed up and then cooled down again, and all the systems that may be affected would have to be shut down before defrosting took place leading to a massive energy sink.
Pulse Technology Uses Electricity
The technology itself uses an electrical pulse that creates a layer of water where the surface and ice come into contact with each other. To ensure that the pulse only hits the intended target, a thin film of indium tin oxide (ITO) is used. Once the water layer is formed, it’s just a matter for gravity to work its magic to force the ice to slough off the surface, leaving it defrosted and with perfect visibility.
While the tech is not yet ready for commercial consumption, tests done on the technology as proof of concepts are promising. A test run saw researchers applying their technology to defrost a glass sheet cooled down to -159.8 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature mirrors some of the coldest real-world temperatures faced by teams working in Antarctica. The technology managed to remove the layer of ice in less than a second. As this technology continues to develop, one can hope to see it in consumer vehicles before too long.